Find the tips and steps for an easy and ‘cheater method’ to fill window boxes for foraged greenery, free-for-the-clipping!
I’ve been puttering around and gathering greenery to deck the halls and making my way around the Potting Shed.
I always look forward to sprucing up the window boxes with greenery for the Christmas and to enjoy through the winter. Fresh greenery gives the window boxes an instant facelift and best of all, it’s free for the clipping!
Here’s my easy and ‘cheater method’ to fill the window boxes with holiday greenery:
Cut back the spent annuals, leaving the old plant roots in the boxes with the soil. The roots in soil help anchor the greenery and keep stems in place. Wet the soil with water, soaking it thoroughly until water runs out the bottom of your planters or window boxes.
I used a combination of cedar, juniper, Leyland cypress, pine and magnolia in the window boxes.
The longest part of this process is gathering your greenery. Once your greenery is cut, you can assemble your window boxes in 30 minutes. Place your cut greenery in buckets of water to keep it fresh until you’re ready to assemble.
Here are a few tips to assemble your window boxes or planters:
Make your cuts at 45 degree angles so there is more surface area to absorb water.
- Cut more your greenery than you think you need and cut it in longer pieces than you think you might need since you can always cut it down later.
- Use a variety of textures and colors for interest. Shortleaf pine is more yellow, juniper is more gray-blue and magnolia is a dark glossy, green.
- Add greenery to spill over the front and sides of your window boxes. The lacy texture of cedar is ideal to soften the edges of the window boxes or planters.
Keep your window boxes and planters watered to keep the greenery fresh, even spraying the needles and leaves. Greenery in colder climates and out of direct sunlight will last and look fresh longer.
Cedar and Shortleaf pine trees grow around the edge of our property and the field next to my shed. I was able to cut some branches of pine that had pine cones on them. A pair junipers planted at the corners of our house have outgrown their space and need to be shaped and clipped back into bounds when they start to creep onto our walkway. I wait until December to cut them back so I can use the pieces for window boxes and planters.
If you don’t have access to fresh greenery, you can pick up some from Christmas tree lots for free or for a minimal price.
After all the greenery was in place, I added some large pine cones and some rusty bell garland that I picked up at a local store last year to spill over and jingle its way through the window box.
I used the same method with a pair of pots that flank the bench. I’ll leave the pots and window boxes filled with greenery through winter, removing the jingle bells after Christmas. Magnolia is the first of the greenery to fade but the rest of greenery usually looks good through early February. I’ll remove it along with the old roots and dirt and start over to prepare the window boxes for spring planting with fresh soil in early April.
An embroidered pillow from Pottery Barn several years ago came out to roost on my bench. . .
You can see more Christmas Greenery Around the Potting Shed, here.
It’s been mild and sunny here in North Carolina this December, but the temperature is plunging this weekend, time to fill up the bird feeders!
Hope you’re staying warm and cozy in your nest!
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This is beautiful, I do this in fl. But hard to find the greens!
You make this sound so easy, Mary, and it looks great! I’m going to try to find some greenery to put in my one small window box today. I like the addition of the plaid, too. Naturally, the portulaca that I have in the box is beginning to bloom again.Eenjoy the chilly weather coming to you…we expect the same in Southeast Louisiana…
Love this post, Mary–thank you! Is there anything prettier than magnolia leaves in a Christmas arrangement? ?
The step by step hints are great–I’m heading out with shears and a bucket this morning 😊
Oh those window boxes are one of my favorite parts of your Potting Shed….How wonderful that you were able to gather those beautiful greens to create the most beautiful winter window box display. Great tips as always Mary! Oh yes, not looking forward to those plunging temperatures this weekend….a good weekend to put of the last tree! Have a Very Merry Day!!
The window boxes are magical Mary, looking at them with the beautiful bird pillow and throw on the bench makes me feel like I’ve entered a fairy tale! Beautiful!!
Tommorow I am planing to go gather greens on our property and do the window boxes on our barn and do the front porch urns and fill a small sleigh with greens and pinecones. Turning colder here now in N. C so it is the perfect time. Thanks for your great tips,inspiration and beautiful photos. Merry Christmas.
Such a good idea to leave the soil and plant roots to anchor the greenery. I learn so much from you. You are blessed to have an abundance of greenery close at hand. Your boxes and planters look great. I’m loving your bird pillow.
Falling snowflakes were a perfect touch today.
Mary.. I too live in NC and love the seasons.. I drool over each and everyone of your posts!
I love your blog, so pretty!!!!
Love it. I swoon every time I see that red bench. Do you recall where you got the plaid throw? I am starting to accumulate a few.
Thank you Donna! HomeGoods has the best prices on wool plaid throws that I have found. The usually start arriving in the stores in October and go quickly!
I love your shed and everything about it! The window boxes look so nice with all the fresh greenery! You’ve inspired me to do the same around my shed!
Mary, the window boxes are so festive dressed with overflowing and fresh cut greenery! Your potting shed always warms my heart!
Your site is truly the most inspiring and motivating anywhere. I love your unique recipes and design appeal. Keep bringing joy to so many. Merry Christmas.
Your window boxes are Winter Beautiful! I leave the soil in my boxes too but I use faux greenery. Helps hold stems in place. I added snowballs to my greenery this year. I think we might just get snow Friday here in NC!…and yesterday it was 70 degrees!! I’m off to New York City…BRrrrr
Wish I had the eye to putter around like you do. Thank you for all your ideas. I am 80 years young, just proves you are never too old to learn and enjoy! Mary
Very pretty Mary! I did the same with my urns flanking our sidewalk and even added small cut branches, which were like 2 -3 foot sticks to add height along with faux berries. Love that I just have to walk my yard/woods to get the greens, pinecones and holly. Like the idea of leaving the dirt, will remember that for next year.
After being inspired by your earlier post on winter greenery, I went out and cut some cedar. I was wondering about care – watering – how long it would last, etc. You’ve answered all my questions! Thanks!
Your window boxes are stunning and festive, Mary. I always enjoy seeing your cute little potting shed!
I ordered 3 wreaths from Lynch Farms. They are truly beautiful and so green.!!!! Very happy!!!!!!
Merry Christmas !!!!
Weather starting to feel winterish.!!!!!
I bet they are Terri! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!🎄
I love your window boxes! I’ve been picking up dropped pine branches in the neighborhood, and will cut more greens from the garden than I already have to freshen up my indoor greens. Maybe I should trim the hot tub so Santa will get the idea….think I could hang some window boxes along the sides??? hmmm…
It looks great Mary, I’m really enjoying the way the magnolia looks this year:@)
Can I come over and just sit and look at your Potting Shed. It’s always so beautiful, especially this time of year.
Thanks Sandy, Come on over🎄
Your window boxes are just beautiful as well as the surrounding area especially the pretty red bench. Great suggestion on leaving the roots of previous plants in the window boxes. Have you ever tried putting oasis in them, I have put oasis in containers on my mantle and it has extended the life of my magnolia and greenery. I will definitely refer to this post next year when I have my shed finished. Thanks always for your creative ideas and helpful recommendations.
Thank you Virginia! I’ve used Oasis indoors but not outside. The soil from the previous plants in the window box works well, this will be my third Christmas season. It would take a lot of Oasis to fill those window boxes. :)
Gorgeous!! Merry Christmas!! 🎄🎁🎄🎁🎄
Very Pretty !!!
Thanks Paula 🎄😀
Oh so beautiful love your potting shed…your inspiration is awesome
I wondered how you did the greenery, Mary, and I appreciate you explaining that you just leave the soil and roots in there. Great idea!! Your pillow is so perfect on your bench, and adds that special flair.
Love the planters and that bench is just waiting for Santa to sit a while and check his list to see who is naughty and who is nice.
I never wanted a real tree but I would get the clippings from people selling live trees, put them in a bucket of water to make the house smell like Christmas and wonder why I was so sick every Christmas. So allergic.
Your window boxes look lovely. I usually do something similar with the planter boxes on my deck but my mums died early this year and I had to replace them with pansies so they didn’t look horrible for Thanksgiving. I have been debating about whether or not I should remove the pansies and put in the greens or not. Your beautiful boxes have convinced me to go green!
Please share the color of your beautiful bench? And did you seal it? It’s the color of my dreams!